Security body to investigate Red Ants over alleged misconduct

FILE PHOTO: Members of the red ants make their way through Lenasia, South of Johannesburg, after evicting residents. Members of the police have confirmed the death of two residents during clashes with the red ants on 23/09/2017
FILE PHOTO: Members of the red ants make their way through Lenasia, South of Johannesburg, after evicting residents. Members of the police have confirmed the death of two residents during clashes with the red ants on 23/09/2017
Image: ALAISTER RUSSELL

The controversial Red Ants eviction company is under investigation for the apparent brutal conduct of its staff in demolishing the informal homes of alleged land invaders.

The investigation‚ which is being conducted by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority [PSiRA]‚ is looking into the alleged murder and assault of people evicted throughout Gauteng.

It follows new allegations of an attack on several people on Tuesday who were evicted from their homes in Vosloorus on the East Rand.

The Red Ants Security Relocation and Evictions Services company failed to comment at the time of going to print.

The company is used by a number of municipalities to evict illegal land occupiers.

The investigation is looking at whether Red Ants security officers have the legal power‚ licences‚ permits‚ authorisation‚ accreditation‚ registration‚ level of training‚ skills‚ knowledge or qualifications needed to do their work.

The investigation will also consider whether staff are in lawful possession of firearms and ammunition and properly trained to use weapons in their possession.

If found guilty the company faces a R1-million fine per count‚ a six-month suspension of their registration or total withdrawal of their registration as a security provider.

Announcing its investigation‚ PSiRA said they were looking at complaints against the company stemming from evictions in Ivory Park‚ Tembisa‚ Midvaal‚ and Lenasia.

The authority's spokesman‚ Siziwe Zuma‚ said their investigation had intensified after the alleged assaults on Tuesday. "We are investigating complaints from the Right-to-Know [R2K] campaign about the alleged conduct of the company."

R2K is seeking PSiRA's withdrawal of the Red Ants operating licence.

Zuma said PSiRA would be seeking legal advice on the best approach to address their investigation.

"We have statutory mandate to effectively control the practice of the occupation of the security service provider in the public and national interest.

"We will not allow the violation of our code of conduct which compromises public safety."

Zuma said they were urging people with evidence which could assist their investigation to come forward.

“The authority is currently working with police to ensure that any misconduct or violation of human rights is accounted for."

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